You might think you don’t know any Joe Henry songs, but it’s really that you don’t necessarily know any of the songs he wrote for himself; you certainly know songs he wrote for other people (Loudon Wainwright among others). He told a great story about a song he wrote he thought would be perfect for Mavis Staples (I think, although I may be remembering the wrong name…). And he played it for her…and she said “Oh that’s just fine, Joe Henry. Just fine… What else ya got?”
I know you’ve heard the song he wrote with his sister in law “Don’t Tell Me”. When he introduced it, he said “I wrote this with a friend of mine, and we both recorded it. I recorded it as a tango…and she recorded it as a hit. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that!” But then he also pointed out “I own just as many fancy Italian shoes as she does but I can still walk down the street without bodyguards!”
He’s an old-school showman with a seriously talented bass/drums duo backing him up; moving from piano to guitar; telling stories; completely at ease. Unusual voice, not a squeaker like Dylan, but still quite distinctive. Totally entertaining.